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From books to films

Quality literature continues to lose out to how-to manuals and trashy novels

Richard Oh

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   A man of literary passions   Image courtesy of Richard Oh

Richard Oh is the author of three novels, numerous articles and writer-director of a feature-length film. His novels, Pathfinders of Love (1999), Heart of the Night (2000) and The Rainmaker’s Daughter (2004), deal with subtly Indonesian aspects of love and life. His articles, written for Jakarta’s newspapers range across subjects like technology, philosophy, the middle classes and sex. Oh is also the co-founder of the Khatulistiwa Literary Award (KLA), which was initiated a decade ago following an evening of discussion at a restaurant in Jakarta’s Jalan Veteran with Takashi Ichiki (then the Director of the Plaza Senayan mall in Jakarta), the writer Danarto, poet Sutardji Calzioum Bachri and several other Indonesian literary figures. One of its kind in Indonesia, this award is arguably the single most important award for young and upcoming authors in a country where arts funding is scarce and revenue from book sales remains minimal, due to limited sales and weak copyright implementation. Richard Oh, who was until recently the founder-owner of one of Indonesia’s leading bookstores and literary establishments, QB World Books, spoke to Laura Noszlopy.

Now that the award is running for its tenth year, what do you think can be discerned from the list of previous winners, and what can be learned about supporting the future

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